Gathering The New Crop
My heart grieves this morning for my personal losses and those of close friend and family. So many families have lost loved ones to death and to dibilitating disease and divisionings. Corporate and government redivisioning leave many standing in new venues while being separated from the familiar.
Sometimes disease is more of a loss than death. We look into hollow eyes and walk alongside those that cannot do for themselves as they would wish. New memories are being created and they have pain in them.
Death has a finality to memories. We can chose the good and remember. We can chose the smiles to remember.
Divisionings can be hardest of all. Leaders watch as lifelong investments of time and thought are torn apart and made something new, while they must fend for fresh ground and stoke vibrancy of youth to build scratch structures.
So I pray for my friends and family and self a series of prayers.
One, that the God of all Comfort wrap his arms around you and give you peace.
Two, that the peace of God that passes all understanding guard your heart and mind in Christ.
Three, that the guard over your heart give you hope in a bright future.
Four, that the bright future become your focus and smile.
Five, that your smile bring joy to those around you.
Six, that what you have left in life is enjoyed to the maximum.
It is the ones we have left after loss that mean the most. Our family and friends that are with us need our smile and bring us smiles.
This morning I put on my bigger shoes of grace and mercy and chose to greet my day with anticipation. Surely the God that has brought me thus far has further in mind. Having lost so much, there is surely much to gain. There is room expanded in my life to allow for the next phase.
Only after a field is cleared of the last crop can it be adequately planted with new.
Paul, the writer of many letters and teacher of the kingdom, spent 17 years in listening and serving before he preached. That was after receiving key training as a leader in Judaism. You would think after a personal encounter with God with lightening bots he would have gotten quick TBN exposure, book deals, and been vaunted to the top of Christendom.
After that he had 16 years of good ministry and changed the world.
22 years ago, I took a hiatus from front line ministry. Prior to that I had preached and taught for ten years everywhere but in churches. Streets, homes, banks, restaurants, conference rooms, whatever were my comfort zone. In 1994 I took a six year stint alongside a quality team helping develop a large multi-cultural congregation.. But that was church work. Yeah, I did develop a street mission and ran it for five years. But still it did not seem like the early days.
In the last 12 years, I’ve worked among the churches coordinating fathering events, teaching seminars and classes, and recently am back in the miracle touch of God business.
Yet, something is missing. Something has been on hold for 22 years that is coming back into vision in a new way. After 30 years of ministry, the core urgency of developing disciples is coming out greater than ever. And it needs to be face to face.
People should have peacefilled, strong, charactered existence. Mistakes will happen. Sickness will confront health. Disasters will intersect with simple living. And peace should rule. Comfort should engage. Now, I am coming alive to see and take action once again.
It has been long, but all of the learning has been worth the wait.
An other’s pair of shoes
“Yours, O LORD, is the greatness, The power and the glory, The victory and the majesty; For all that is in heaven and in earth is Yours; Yours is the kingdom, O LORD, And You are exalted as head over all.” 1 Chronicles 29:11 NKJV
Little kids have little intimidation. Big kids learn to worry and stay within boundaries. Adults look for confinement.
Something seems wrong with that picture.
A friend suffers dementia. It is normal. Used to be called “getting old”. Others want to correct her thoughts and tell her she is wrong. You cannot correct the thoughts of a person suffering dementia. Maybe it would be best to let her mind wander a little. Maybe we are afraid that we are next and want to control the wandering?
Another friend’s father passed suddenly. Sure he was ill, but no one expected imminent death. It was a good funeral. My friend and I were together working with an outreach in Matamoros at the time. His father lived there. It was good to walk alongside my friend and his family at such a time. It was good to be there and share his world and grief and joy and family.
My father-in-law passed a few weeks ago. The weeks preceding were grueling. My wife spent many evenings caring for him. Her sister took care of him in her house. Before that, their brother cared for him daily. It is the right way to pass. Being among family is the right way. It is also tough.
Yet, another extended family member decided to end life early. There is no way to know what was in his mind at those frustrating moments leading up to such a decision. All of us are dying. He reached the other side earlier than we would like. It is painful.
Right now, a five year old is passing. Another extended family member. The final days of morphine and meds will usher her out of this existence. Cancer is cruel. Her parents and others have worked hard to make sure she has enjoyed every moment of her life possible over the last years.
Shoes – Zapatos
Over all the times of sharing life events, there were two two year olds. Each of them playfully would put their tiny feet in some adult’s abandoned shoes and walk around. With my granddaughter, we spent over an hour one day as she held my hand and walked in high heels of another. It was fun.
In all of the death and destruction and pain and passing, these little ones have an enormous capacity to imagine themselves bigger than their current life would permit. For them, to walk in bigger shoes is the expectation of the future.
How good it is when we embrace life with the expectation of a little child. Instead of limiting ourselves and others, we have the capacity within us to imagine there are no limitations and no walls. We can live bigger than our existence. We can walk above the pain and grief and see a bigger life. We can walk in bigger shoes even when our feet are so small. It just takes holding on to our Father’s hand.
I am wearing a big pair of shoes this morning that are smiling shoes. My expectation of a good day and a good week are high. My Father and I are going to take a walk all week long in those shoes.
Be Blessed. Put on some shoes that are bigger than your present experience. Maybe one day your feet will be big enough to fill them and you will need to look for even bigger shoes.